Trends That Will Make Your Business Thrive In 2018

A new year is here and along with it comes a new set of goals and purpose for your business startup. The trends of the year are already heating up, and your company needs to form early adoption to ensure you make the most of these moneymaking opportunities. Consider investing in these trends of 2018 to help your business startup flourish throughout the year.

Local Advertising

Reaching your local customers has never been easier or more important as localized advertising takes this promotional activity to a whole new level. Through advanced search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, you are able to make your business startup visible to the exact base of customers that have interest in your product. Using local landing pages, city keyword search terms, and the use of pages such as Google MyBusiness, you can allow your company to be found by those that are searching for a business near them. This personalized approach to reaching customers is hot for 2018 and is a sound way to market your business throughout the year.

Advanced Technologies

Hardly a day goes by without a mention of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), or Internet of Things (IoT). These technologies are allowing business startups to interface with their customers in a new and exciting way. Adding these advanced technologies into your business not only can improve the customer experience for consumers, but it can also streamline and make your operations more efficient.

Higher Wages

For 2018, you’ll see a surge in the minimum wage being paid to workers. Increasing your wage earnings for your employees can make your business startup a more attractive place to work and help garner talent that would otherwise not have been possible. Your employees are a direct reflection of your business startup and paying them a little more can go a long way in ensuring that you have a workforce that maintains your company vision and brand.

Remote Workforce

More and more employees are signing up a for positions that offer remote working environments. As your business startup grows, you can expand your presence globally through a remote workforce. This will allow your business startup to secure top talent from around the world and keep your operations flowing 24/7. You’ll be able to maintain a lower overhead with a remote team and give your employees a position that is highly desirable and sought after in 2018.

Millennials

The focus of the New Year is on Millennials as this large population of customers has come of age and has an immense buying power to wield with business startups. This gaggle of buyers is focused and ready to make buying decisions that can help to increase your business startup’s revenue. Understanding and honing in on this generation of consumers can provide a generous bump in your profits as you target them with technology-enhanced products and services that you market to them on the very channels they submerge themselves in. Emphasizing Millennials for 2018 can add to your business startup’s bottom line and increase your fan base and followers throughout the year.

Influencers and Experts

In 2018, the need to have a subject matter expert or influencer support your business startup’s products or services can boost your brand’s visibility with consumers. These experts have clout with customers and are often the reason that they choose your business startup over your competitors. Consumers are turning to subject matter experts and influencers to give them advice and provide them with the solutions to their everyday problems with your products and services. Th opinions of these experts matter to the masses and can help bolster your business startup in 2018.

Blockchain

If you haven’t heard of blockchain, you soon will as the technology is making strong headway in 2018. This technology allows for real-time, safe documentation and monitoring and can help your business startup become more transparent with your customers. The ability to hold digital transactions in a more friendly and accountable way makes blockchain a technology that can literally change the way that you do business in 2018 and beyond.

E-Commerce

The need for a brick and mortar store has literally become passé as consumers choose to do the majority of their shopping online. E-commerce is taking over, and more business startups are making a foray into online sales in lieu of a physical store location. Consumers are responding with resounding acceptance making it possible for your business startup to thrive in the e-commerce space and gain consumer loyalty with online sales.

Values

The trend in 2018 for businesses alike is a focus on values. Consumers are turning to brands that have the same values that align with their own and foregoing the ones that don’t. Outlining the values that your business startup stands for early on can give you traction with customers that are likeminded and believe in the same morals as your company does. Keeping your values front and center with your customer base is a new way to attract clients to your business and keep them coming back for the long haul to buy your products and services.

Customer Experience

In 2018, the customer experience also becomes more important as consumer look to brands that provide them a positive buying experience. Interacting and engaging with your customers can help achieve loyalty with them. When buying from your business startup is an occurrence that a consumer enjoys, they are more likely to return to your business for a second, third, and fourth purchase. They spread the word that your business startup is one to frequent and keeps your company top of mind with many new customers.

Keep these trends in mind as your business moves in 2018 to help it achieve maximum success in the New Year. You’ll reap the rewards of staying on top of the trends that your customers are demanding and increase your revenue with vigor as you find these new ways to promote your business startup and interact with your customer base. Good luck and continued success in 2018!

 

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com If you need to access our network of angel investors or a business plan for start-up funding visit Funded.com

No More Excuses for Small Business Owners for Not Growing Their Businesses

When talking about business related issues, solutions, and technologies, you will almost always group businesses as small and large. While the separation is there, it won’t be wrong to say that in a modern where digital technologies prevail, it should not be a problem for small businesses to compete with large ones. The large corporations have the advantage of having more resources without a doubt. However, there was not a time in the past when growing and expanding was as easy for small businesses as it is today.

Digital Marketing for Everyone

Digital marketing starts with a website today. When it comes to website designs, more money does not always mean a better design. If you are working with the right people and are clear about your requirements, your website can be just as impressive as the website of a large business. In fact, internet users today are more in favor of simplistic websites with a focus on the information they are looking for rather than the glitter and sparkle.

As for social media marketing, there is no difference in the size of the market that small and large businesses have to target. They are both targeting global audiences and how good they are at it is not defined by how much money they put in their marketing efforts. Social media marketing is free marketing, so there is no excuse as to who has more resources.

And if you believe that the large corporations make it to the top of the search engine results, you always have a better and more effective niche to compete within – local. With local search engine optimization, small businesses can compete with the medium and large businesses head to head. In simple words, regardless of the size of the business, everyone has access to the same market and same people today. What matters is who does it better.

Digital Solutions Are Available Specifically for Small Businesses

When it comes to software solutions for businesses, the focus is not on large corporations anymore. Today, all types of software solutions have their versions built specifically for small businesses. These digital solutions allow small businesses to cut down their costs and make use of the same technologies that large companies are using.

Take the example of CRMs. At one point, there was a notion that customer relationship management software are only for large businesses, but the things have changed quite a bit today. Web-based CRM are a revelation for small businesses. First, these CRMs provide great marketing, database, customer service and sales solutions to the businesses. Second, they are unbelievably affordable. If you own a small business, you don’t even have to worry about software integration, hardware compatibility, updates, and upgrades, etc. Keep in mind that with in-house solutions, these are the costs that make it difficult for small businesses to grow financially.

With web-based solutions designed for small businesses, you can now have access to a world-class CRM at a fractional monthly or yearly cost. Other affordable digital solutions available include invoicing software, bookkeeping software, payroll software, etc.

Customers Have the Power in their Hands

The Internet has empowered customers like never before. You can’t say that just because a business is in multiple countries, it will be impressive enough for people to buy its products. The amazing thing about today’s economy is the power that customers have in their hands. Online reviewing websites, YouTube videos, blogs, etc. are among many platforms that allow customers to know more about businesses. In fact, even Google now puts business ratings and customer reviews right within its search results.

What this means is that when customers searches for a business today, They are sometimes able to see the reputation of the product they are going to buy. Furthermore, negative reviews from customers can affect business sales, giving other businesses a chance to make their name.

Furthermore, it’s not just the quality of products that matters today. In the modern world, businesses are competing for better customer experience. If your business can give customers the experience they are looking for, your growth is inevitable despite the small size of your business.

Funding Is No Issue for Startups

It is always the starting days that matter the most for business. When you are a startup, you are looking for ways to fund your business so you can materialize your idea and polish your product/service according to the requirements of the customers. Finding a platform where you could connect with angel investors was a challenge in the past. This is not an issue anymore.

It is now easier than ever for small businesses to get in touch with investors and get the right amount of investment that sets them on the path of growth. These are websites that act as a bridge between investors from all around the world and startups.

With online funding websites, all you have to do is create a convincing pitch that explains the viability of your startup to the investors and its scope. Your business plan along with all the necessary information that you think investors should see can be posted to the website and start getting the right kind of exposure. If you have done your homework and have a team of right professionals on board, getting the right investment can come sooner.

Final Words

You can see that a small business and startup business can overcome almost all of their challenges much more efficiently today. Starting a business has become so easy that even students can be entrepreneurs. They can lay the foundation for a business using just their pocket money. From connecting with the right investors to cutting down operational costs, all can be done from the comfort of a person’s home. The only thing that makes the difference today is if you are confident enough to take the first step.

 

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com If you need to access our network of angel investors or a business plan for start-up funding visit Funded.com

7 New Year’s Resolutions Your Business StartUp Needs To Make For 2018

With the New Year on the horizon, now is the time to take stock of your business and make the necessary changes to ensure you have a successful 2018. While you may be making personal resolutions to lose weight, exercise more, or save more money, your business startup can also benefit from a set of resolutions that you stick to throughout the year. Try incorporating these resolutionsinto your company strategy for 2018.

Start showing your employees more appreciation

At the very heart of your business startup are the employees that work for you. Without their trust and loyalty, your company’s performance may begin to suffer. Show your support of your staff by appreciating them and the work that they do for you. You need to recognize a job well done and take time to say thanks when warranted. Your employees will be more receptive to your feedback and be motivated to do well throughout the year. Your business startup will benefit from added productivity with a well-appreciated team that wants to do well and exceeds expectations.

Listen to feedback from your customers

It can be easy to put blinders on and think that your products and services are serving your customer to the best of your ability. But, your customers are a valuable tool to help you improve your business startup and make your products and services even better with each generation. Ask your customers for feedback and truly listen to what they have to say. Make the changes that they are asking for and you will see your company flourish in the New Year as their demands are met. Use these feedback to your advantage and think of how it can benefit you to be better than your competitors going forward.

Place more focus on your budget

Taking a long hard look at your company budget can help you identify areas where you are overspending. Cutting these costs or finding ways that you can streamline your business startup without sacrificing your operations. It can allow you to go into 2018 a little leaner and save where in the past you were splurging. Having a plan in place that helps you stick to your budget in the New Year, will allow you to keep your spending in line and prepare for the large expenditures that you may need to make over the next year.

Get to know your numbers

Being a business owner means you need to get a handle on your financials and not just let your accountant handle matters. You should know all aspects of your business startup’s costs, profits, and overhead. Nothing regarding your financials should come as a surprise as you should have the foresight to see where your business is heading based on the numbers at hand. Make 2018, the year that you hone in on your company’s finances and become in control of the numbers that control your business. You’ll have better management of your business startup and feel more empowered to make decisions that impact your company.

Concentrate on customer service

Use the New Year as an excuse to overhaul your customer service approach. Placing more emphasis on customer service can help your business excel past your competition. With customers becoming more and more frustrated with a lack of customer service from many companies, you can make your business startup standout by going above beyond with yours. Take this opportunity to make it a priority throughout the year,and you’ll be amazed at the loyalty you gain from your customers because of how well they were treated by your business.

Embrace change

Don’t be stuck in your ways for 2018. Allow this to be the year that you look for factors to enhance your business through the realm of technology offerings that are available. Use these technologies to your business startup’s advantage and integrate them where possible in throughout your company. This can work to enhance the customer experience as they desire more ways to connect with your business through technology. It can also help to streamline your operations and make your business more efficient in its capabilities. Embrace change in 2018 and watch as your business startup moves to the next level.

Make a social media strategy

If you have been stalling with a social media strategy, now is the time to jump on the bandwagon and take full advantage of the platforms available to your business and customers. Social media is an effective way to reach your customers and promote your business with minimal investment. Your customers are already on social media,and you need to be theretoo. For 2018, social media should be your mantra,and you should develop a strategy to target your clients and market your company’s products and services on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat, and LinkedIn.

Be more environmentally conscious

Being more environmentally-friendly in 2018 should be a concerted effort that your business startup makes in 2018. Start by creating processes that produce less waste and recycle with abandonment. You may even benefit from a tax credit for your endeavors as you add more energy savings materials and technologies into your business operations. You’ll feel better about your contribution to the earth,and your customers will take notice of your efforts to be a greener company.

Make 2018, your year to succeed with these New Year’s resolutions that are sure to get your business startup on a better track. You’ll see your business evolve and transform in a positive way that benefits you as well as your customers. Be sure to stick with them for the entire year and adjust as necessary to align with your business vision and goals. Your 2018 can be more everything you desire if you take the required steps to create a strategy now for the New Year that allows your business to excel and meet the demands of your customer base. So, good ahead and jot down those resolutions for yourself and also for your business startup. Happy New Year!

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com If you need to access our network of angel investors or a business plan for start-up funding visit Funded.com

Setting Up A Small Business in 2018 – It’s Not all About How Much Money You Have

When you think of starting a business, the first thing that comes to mind is money/capital. Of course, you need money to start a business, even if it is very little considering the fact how easy it is to start a business in the digital age. However, there could be many other factors that affect a business in today’s digital economy—some you show serious concern to and some you don’t really pay attention to much.

Blockchain Is Affecting All Types of Businesses

One of the biggest concerns for today’s entrepreneurs before they start business is probably blockchain or crypto technology. The world is seeing the rise of crypto technology and how it is being integrated into the existing business ideas. A little more than a couple of years ago, you must have heard the term “bitcoin”. From bitcoin, people still believe that blockchain is all about digital currency i.e. money in the digital world. However, this is far from truth. Blockchain is expected to affect all types of businesses and industries in the world in the coming days.

It is a technology that redefines the security aspect of many businesses in 2018, introduced decentralization in modern business technologies and benefits the end consumers in multiple ways. For example, you could launch a gaming platform where no one needs the existing currencies. You could launch your own platform with your own money today. You don’t really have to start everything from the scratch; instead you could base your currency on the existing blockchain platforms like Ethereum. Through ICOs, you could have investors from around the world invest in your idea. So, blockchain is definitely a consideration for all businesses starting in 2018 and the coming years.

Physical Warehouses Are Not Necessary

A few years ago, only a certain types of business could be called truly online businesses. For businesses where products have to be stored for some time, a complete online presence was not the solution. Entrepreneurs who had such business ideas in mind had to have enough money to have their own warehouses. However, this has also changed quite a bit in the past couple of years. With the idea of drop shipping becoming common with time, it is becoming easier for businessmen to start their own businesses without much investment.

In a drop shipping model, all you have to do is collect orders from customers, forward those orders to the manufacturers or suppliers and have the goods shipped. You only act as a liaison in this particular model because it is the supplier that sends the products directly at the customers’ doorsteps. You will still need an online store with all the products listed for customers to see. However, you don’t need any warehouses because you don’t have to own, buy or store any products. The good thing is that this model now allows drop shippers to offer much more competitive rates so penetrating into the market is easier for them.

Big Data Is the Big Difference

Another technology that has been influencing business decisions and the way businesses operate is big data. While the term “big data” seems that you are referring to just large amounts of data but in reality, you are also referring to the methodologies and technologies that are in use to handle big data. You will be completely wrong to think that traditional software and hardware solutions can deal with big data in any way. Let’s take the example of a bank. A bank could have hundreds of branches located all around the country. In these hundreds of branches, the bank will have hundreds of thousands of customers.

The bank has account information of hundreds of thousands of these customers. In addition to that, the bank is constantly investing in stock and foreign markets, storing and utilizing that information. The same bank handles the data of all micro and macro loans it is forwarding to its customers. It is also storing information about customers through its mobile application to know what customers expect from the mobile website. On all of those hundreds of branches, the bank also has CCTV cameras collecting terabytes of footage on a daily basis.

Do you think all this data goes to waste? No, the data bank collected from banks is utilized in making bank branches securer. Data from mobile devices helps bank refine their mobile application. Data collected through financial softwares helps a bank improve its insurance, loan, mortgage, etc. offerings. It may seem on the surface that big data is a headache for big businesses only, but big data is just as important for small businesses as well. What this mean is that businesses starting in 2018 will have to have a big data approach right from day one.

Internet Security Is the Biggest Threat Now

It is unfortunate that rather than making the world a safer place, the new technology has led to greater internet threats. Cyber attacks are becoming more frequent with time, and much more sophisticated too. In the past few years, cyber attacks on some of the biggest companies of the world, including tech companies have proved that security has to be the major concern for every business—small, mid-scale or large. If you think starting a new business or having a small business gives you any advantage over large ones, here is something you would want to take a look at.

 

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com If you need to access our network of angel investors or a business plan for start-up funding visit Funded.com

How Your Business Startup Can Take Advantage of the Holiday Spending Peak

The holidays are here, and your business startup needs to make the most of this selling opportunity. With holiday shopping expected to break $100 billion in online sales, according to a prediction by CMO, your business can take advantage of the holiday season by putting on its best face and generating additional revenue with these holiday promotional tips.

Find your special holiday niche

Start by taking a look at what your business startup offers that ties in with the holiday spirit, so you can maximize your sales with customers looking for that perfect holiday gift or treat. Think about the niche that your products and services serve and increase the hype with some added holiday cheer. Gear your products specifically as Christmas gifts and offer special services that can be gifted to friends and families. Customers will seize the opportunity for a new and creative gift idea that can bring that unexpected surprise come Christmas morning.

Engage with your customers

Now is the perfect time to divulge deeper into the relationship you have established with your customers. Engage with them in a fun way and help get them ready for the holidays by offering an interactive opportunity with your business startup. Maybe its picture with Santa, a customer appreciation party or just an offering of a holiday snack as they shop. The more you focus in on your client base and treat them special during the holiday time the more they will be apt to visit you after the long break.

Be merry and spread cheer on social media

Use the holidays as a time to show your business startup’s holiday cheer on social media. Be creative in your social media campaigns and include a holiday twist with each post that you make. Tie it into your products and services, and you have a holiday recipe for added shares, likes, and follows. This can increase your fan base and drive customers to your website in a flurry, allowing for more interaction with your offerings during the holiday season to help reach the ultimate in sales revenue.

Bring on the sales and giveaways

Customers love a deal, and they especially love one during the holiday season. With a large number of people to buy for on gift-giving lists, having the potential to save on a present can create some appreciation with your customers. Generate a buzz about your business startup by offering a generous sale or have a giveaway for a coveted product. This will drive traffic to your website as well as your brick and mortar location as your customers look to get in on the action.

Overhaul your website with a holiday motif

Remind your customers that the holidays are here and they need to get those last-minute purchases done by creating a website that has a festive look to it. With a simple design motif, you can evoke the holidays on your website and entice customers to buy gifts from your website even more.

Creating holiday packaging and promotions

Take the holidays to a new level by creating special packaging for your products that signifies the holidays are here. This will attract buyers and help them envision your offerings as the ideal holiday gift. Package multiple products together for a themed gift package or provide gift wrapping services to make it even easier for a customer to get their holiday to-do list done by buying from your business.

Make it easy to buy from your business startup

With the majority of transactions for the holidays happening online, you need to ensure your business startup is ready to handle the volume and the use of mobile devices. Ensure your website is optimized for the additional mobile device shopping you will see during the holidays and make sure it can handle the added load of transactions to occur through your website. Have plenty of inventory in stock as nothing disappoints a customer more than finding the perfect gift and then realizing it is out of stock. This can create a bad taste in the mouth of customers that want to make their Christmas shopping as easy as possible.

Don’t forget the kids

Many of your customers are parents that bring their kids in tow when they visit and shop with your business. Even if your business startup isn’t geared towards kids, you can create a special event that helps to entertain them during the holiday time. Provide goody bags to the kids or have a day that is dedicated just to children with activities designed around them. Parents will be thankful for the opportunity to shop at your business while their kids are entertained by your friendly staff of elves.

Appreciate the business you had all year long

Make the holiday a time for appreciating the customers that have been loyal to your business by sending them a personalized holiday card. This will show your customers that their business matters and you couldn’t have gone through the year without it. By taking the time to send a holiday card that is handwritten, your customers will know that you put some thought and effort into the idea. Add a coupon or special discount savings to ensure these customers come visit you again after the holidays when business starts to slow.

Make time to give back

Your community is no doubt a big supporter of your business startup, and you need to do your part to give back. Use the holidays to donate to a local charity by holding a holiday fundraising event. Donate a portion of all sales made throughout the day or match your customers’ donations dollar for dollar. This is an ideal way to increase traffic to your business while also showing you are thankful to the community for their support all year long.

Keeping these holiday promotional tips in mind, you can take advantage of the increase in purchases made this time of year. You will be able to show off your business’ holiday pride while enticing customers to buy your products and services as the perfect gift idea.

 

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com If you need to access our network of angel investors or a business plan for start-up funding visit Funded.com

The Importance of Disaster Preparedness for a Small Business

Any business, whether small or big, faces many challenges and some of the biggest challenges are in the shape of disasters, especially the natural ones. It does not matter which part of the world your business operates in; natural disasters are possible in every part of the planet. Floods, storms, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. are among the most common types of natural disasters. This is why it is highly recommended that you have the right preparation for a natural disaster. According to Red Cross, major natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods are so damaging for small businesses that 40% of those that get hit by one of these shut down forever.

So, what is the importance of preparing for disasters for small businesses?

A Professional Impression

Disaster preparedness and disaster recovery plans are often associated with large enterprises and organizations. But are small businesses protected from disasters? Your small business needs a disaster plan just as much as any big business out there. Having a disaster plan integrated into your system and documented gives off a very professional impression of your business. When you become a big business, you can get audited for a hundred different things. Furthermore, your employees will also be happy that they are working with a company that thinks long-term.

Prevention of Various Disasters

While there is nothing much that can be done about natural disasters, you can do something about disasters caused by humans and their errors. A human can cause damage to your property on purpose as a result of jealousy, reaction to some unfair treatment or as a bad business tactic. When you have the right equipment and system in place, it is difficult to cause such damage to the business. In most cases, human-made disasters are in the form of a fire that can burn all the important documents for a company and any systems that store valuable customer information.

Safety of Employees

Preparing for a disaster does not always mean you have to maintain business continuity. In fact, another important part of disaster preparedness is the safety of your employees. At times, you can’t instantly tell what might go wrong. A storm or hurricane can cause damage to electric poles and wires. If not protected properly, this damage can result in the deaths of your employees. Furthermore, when you are not prepared to face a flood, you might end up calling your employees to work and getting their vehicles damaged.

Business Continuity

One of the reasons to be prepared for disasters is to maintain business continuity. If you reside in a region where certain types of natural disasters are common, you have to prepare for these first and then for other types of disasters. For example, a business in Japan will have to prepare for an earthquake and the Tsunami. In some parts of America, there are more tornadoes every year than there are storms in the entire country. When you have a plan for such disasters, you can ensure the continuity of your business even when the disaster strikes.

Continuing business operations can be as easy as asking your employees to work from home. To make this possible, you might want to have all your data and important business applications moved to cloud, so when your company servers are down, you can ask your employees to work. Another important aspect of continuing your business despite great disasters is backing up your data. When it comes to backup, you can’t back up the data in one location only. The idea is to back up your business data every day and move the backup to another location. If your budget allows, you can back up the data in even more locations than two.

Quick Response

An important aspect of disaster preparedness is to share this knowledge with your employees. You also have to update them with any changes you make to your disaster preparedness and recovery plan. For example, if a sudden fire breaks out inside your business premises, your employees must know what the first course of action has to be. You should also ask your employees to have all the important business applications, software tools, etc. installed on their devices if your response to a disaster is asking them to work from home. When your employees know exactly what to do in the case of a disaster, they can get a response to a bad situation instantly, so you face virtually no downtime.

Cost-efficiency

Disaster preparedness and recovery are not just about being ready to handle a disastrous situation. In fact, it is also about being able to operate the business and recover business operations after a disaster hits with as minimum resources as possible. A business without a disaster plan can also recover from a disaster. However, the huge difference here is that the unprepared business will have to spend a lot of money and resources to get back on its feet whereas a business with a plan will continue its operations with minimum efforts.

Improved B2B Relations

It is not just your customers but also your business partners that get affected when your business shuts down temporarily due to a disaster. They might be relying on you for their mission-critical processes, and your absence can cause them to either stop their operations or find another partner to make things work instantly. On the other hand, if your business is still running despite getting hit by a disaster, your business partners will take a very positive impression of you. This is going to help you retain your business partners as they can now trust your professionalism and seriousness with business.

Conclusion :

To prepare for disasters, the first thing you have to do is change your mind about the whole situation. Many small business owners think that things like disaster plans are better suited for large enterprises or when a business has grown big enough to have multiple branches. What they don’t realize is that it is much easier to recover from a disaster when you have multiple locations than it is when you have only one location. So, start assessing your risks today, create a sound communication plan and document your disaster preparation plan today.

 

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com. If you need to access our network of angel investors or a business plan for start-up funding visit Funded.com.

Creating A Positive Reputation For Your Business Startup

The reputation of your business startup is an important factor to the success of your company. For most businesses that are starting out, it is the lack of a reputation that is troublesome. Creating a positive reputation from the get-go is the first step in being a recognizable brand that connects with customers. By focusing on your reputation early on, you can ensure your business startup resonates with consumers as well as with angel investors as you look to get off the ground.

Create A Strong First Impression

Start with creating a good first impression. While this goes without saying when you meet with anyone you do business with, it also extends to the appearance of your company. From your product packaging to your office location, everything needs to be pristine and show customers and clients that you are a serious business owner that cares about your company. Your reputation starts from within, and you need to make sure you look the part before you can expect customers to identify with your brand. Give your business startup the recognition it deserves and tidy up its appearance inside and out. When you look good, you feel good, and others will take notice.

Rely On Word-Of-Mouth

One of the single biggest ways that your business startup can expand and grow its reputation is through word-of-mouth. Uber is a prime example of using this strategy as the come used this technique to increase its recognition with customers. In the very beginning of its startup,it appealed to Silicon Valley techs that it knew would recommend them to others. The strategy paid off, and the company grew in monumental proportions.

Using word-of-mouth to spread the reputation of your business can be advantageous as you look to build your brand. Positive remarks about your company can ensure you reach the masses and help your business startup grow in popularity among consumers.

Empower Your Employees

Your employees are your biggest assets, and they can go a long way in supporting the reputation of your company. Encourage your employees to sing the praises of your business and the products and services you offer. If they like what they sell, they are more likely to tell a friend, family member or neighbor. This adds to your overall reputation as most consumers rely on others to help them with their buying decisions.

Also, be sure your employees are symbols of your business startup and a reflection of your values. As your staff interacts with customers, they can portray the brand of the company and help to bolster your business reputation. Good customer service is a mark of a solid reputation that can help you be a favorite brand of consumers far and wide.

Use Your Website As A Weapon

You literally have a few seconds to garner the attention of a customer on your website. Use this time wisely and be sure to make your message effective. Make your site as appealing as possible and ensure it is a reflection of your values and vision. Your customers should easily be able to tell what type of business you are and what you stand for in the mere seconds they are on your site. If you can grab their attention early, they will stay on your site and come back often to see what’s new and buy from you in the process.

Keep in mind that your customers are savvy and they use mobile devices daily. Your website should be optimized to work with these devices so that a client can purchase from you immediately on the go. Being known as a business startup that is easy to buy from will give you a strong reputation and increase the potential customers that purchase from you on a regular basis.

Realize The Power Of Networking

There is a power factor to networking, and you need to take advantage of it. The more influential people you can associate and align yourself with, the higher your brand will soar. Having power figures support your business startup, and the products and services you carry can help you become more recognizable with consumers as their opinion matters to consumers and gives value to your brand.

You can easily accomplish this by introducing yourself to professionals wherever you go. Try attending networking events and reach out to executives at likeminded companies to strategize. Take advantage of the opportunities before you and be proactive in your approach to learning and meeting someone new.

Make Your Presence Count

You are the ultimate ambassador for your business. You need to ensure that you represent your business startup in a positive light and tout its existence to everyone and anyone. Your brand needs to become recognizable to consumers, and the only way to do that is through promotion. You need to sing the praises of your business startup and not be afraid to share the secret that your company holds. Reach out and grab the spotlight. Take the mic and let your voice be heard.

There is no fear in showing value in your business startup early on if you have a strong vision and values to back it up. You need to show your company appeal and build your positive reputation early on using every tool available to you, which means you are the speaker box for that message. Don’t be afraid to boast about your products and services, you never know who is listening, and you just might gain a loyal customer in the process.

By focusing on your business reputation at the very beginning of the formation of your company, you can easily create a brand that consumers relate to and want to buy from. Your products will become recognizable on the shelves, and your services will be sought after by the masses. Concentrate on using the variety of approaches that are available to you to build your brand and create that positive reputation that your business startup will be known for now and into the future.

 

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com. If you need to access our network of angel investors or a business plan for start-up funding visit Funded.com

Why the End of the Year Is the Perfect Time to Review Your Finances

Whether you have a startup, a small business or a large enterprise, chances are the year has passed at the speed of light for you. You were designing your marketing campaigns, availing opportunities of growth and looking through reports when the year-end arrived. While people dedicate this time of the year to holiday delights and festivities, this also happens to be the perfect time to do a review of your finances whether you are just an individual with a 9 to 5 job or a small business. Why should you spend your end of the year for a financial review? Here are the top reasons.

A Strong Visual of Your Financial Standing

The most important thing about a year-end financial review is that it gives you a complete visual of where your business is standing at the moment. Everything that has happened throughout the year is now on the reports before your eyes. You can look at the reports and see what has performed and what has not performed. You must have put a lot of money into marketing your products, services and the brand as a whole. You can now see which of those campaigns have yielded good results and which of them have proved to be futile.

Same goes for your account receivables. Compare your account receivables with those from the previous years and see if there has been any increase or decrease. If there is an abnormal increase, it is a telltale sign that you might need to change your payment plan or push more to receive your pending payments faster. Every activity you have done in the past year has painted a picture, which is now in front of you. Whether you grew as a business, stagnated or receded is clear at the end of the year.

The Best Time to Set New Goals

Based on how you performed in the preceding year and whether or not you have achieved your set targets and goals, you can set goals for the coming year. Your previous year’s performance should clarify how you have to set your targets for the coming year. Keep them realistic yet motivating and challenging enough to leave room for hard work, struggle and progress. Not only should you be looking at how successful you were in achieving previous year’s goals, you should also pay attention to your current financial standing.

Best Time to Apply for Loans and Credit Processing Services

Regardless of how long you have been in business for, when you go and apply for certain services, the service providers take a look at your previous year’s performance. Let’s say, for example, that you want to apply for a merchant account (maybe a high-risk one) so you can start processing credit card requests for your customers. When you approach a merchant account provider, they will ask for some history of your business activities—at least 3 months. By the end of the year, you have enough data to show to lenders and credit processing services to convince them to do business with you.

Of course, a financial review will give you a good look at whether you have done enough to impress these service providers or not. You can apply for these services with a quarterly credit history as well, but in most cases it will not be considered sufficient.

Best Time to Get Your Tax Files in Sync

Yes, you have been extra careful about your tax filing and preparation the whole year, but the overall integrity of your records still has a question mark on it. It is extremely important for you to prepare your tax files at the end of the year and calculate your liability with utmost accuracy. While tax preparation softwares have made the job much easier, complex tax files still need attention from your personal accountants to get everything in sync. Now, the important thing here is that a review does not only help you escape penalties that you might attract by putting wrong information on your file. You want to update your information at the end of the year because you want to accurately calculate your own benefits too e.g. tax credits, exemptions, standard deductions, itemized deductions, etc.

Time to Start Afresh

Your business might not have been a very successful venture. In fact, many businesses don’t make the best start and it seems in the beginning that it would be difficult for the business to survive. However, small changes in strategies and cuts in costs can prove to be greatly benefitting for businesses. The best time to start afresh and renew all your reports and files is the end of the year. While you can change your strategies and plans midway too, it is natural for most humans to feel the need for a new start at the start of a new year. For example, people can decide to lose weight at any time of the year, but it seems it makes most sense to them when they do it at the start of a new year.

If you think your business has not performed really well, but you still want to give it a shot, the end of year financial review can clear the path for you by telling you if you can afford to give it another shot or not.

Bottom Line

There is definitely no restriction on when you want to make changes to your business plans and strategies. However, people find it natural and more motivating to set new goals, learn from past mistakes and make new moves when a new year starts. Throughout the year your main goal is to keep the ball rolling. However, it is at the end of the year that you have enough data collected from all your business operations and activities to know how fruitful your efforts were, which efforts you should consider in future and the expenses have been keeping you from progressing. In short, a financial review at the end of the year helps you make new and important decisions for your business.

 

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com If you need to access our network of angel investors or a business plan for start-up funding visit Funded.com

How to Form The Culture Of Your Business Startup

Right from the very beginning of your business startup’s formation, you have already begun to create its corporate culture. Whether you have taken an active role in shaping it or allowed it to organically develop, your corporate culture becomes a part of your business based on your behaviors, vision, and values of your brand. Creating a positive organizational culture can allow your business startup to thrive both internally with your employees and externally as they interface with your customer base.

Being proactive at the beginning of your business startups foundation can work to develop a culture that employees take pride in being a part of and also help to express your vision into the long term. Waiting until you are a more established business with a team of employees to worry about your corporate culture can have a negative impact on your business as you forget about the very ideals that make your business startup who it is. With a little bit of management and foresight now, you can craft a corporate culture that follows your business startup’s vision, values, mission, and expected behaviors.

Find Your Purpose

Start by thinking about what the vision for your business really is. You need to think about where you where you are headed and where you want to go. Having some direction early on with your business startup will give you, as well as your employees, something to work towards and aim for. The decisions and choices you make should directly support your vision and allow you to drive your company well into the future.

Along with your vision, you need to create the values that your business startup stands for. This is an important step as this will carve out the ideals of your brand and expectations of your employees. Your employees are just as much a reflection of your business as you are and having values that they can live up to can bring a strong reputation and recognition to your company.

Spread the Message

Once you have developed a vision strategy for your business startup, you need to be vocal about it. You can’t expect your team to catch on if they are unaware of its evolution. Spread the message and allow yourself to be transparent about its meaning to you. Allowing yourself to be open and communicative about how your vision and values align with the success of your business startup can create the buzz your company needs to take it to the next level.

Hire According to Your Values

As you add to your team, you need to find the right fit when it comes to your company culture. You want to hire employees that display your brand values as it will be an easier transition into your corporate culture to respect and stand behind what your business stands for.

As you work to select employees to work at your business startup find out what your values mean to them. Look for ways that they already integrate these values into their daily life. A prospective employee that possess experience, as well as your core values, can be a valuable addition to your business startup as they can bring that positivity your corporate culture needs. You can count on them to spread your vision message to others as well as be contagious to other employees that may have not fully onboard with your company purpose.

Reward and Appreciate

It’s always nice to offer your employees perks, but as a businessstartup, the funding may not be there to give a lot. Recognition of your team goes a long way especially for those that display your company values in the work that they do. Develop a reward system to appreciate those that are incorporating the vision of your business startup with customers or in their work responsibilities and choices they make on a day-to-day basis. This small act can boost your corporate culture and make your business startup a company that employee value and cherish.

Think About The Past

With a focus on the future it can be easy to forget about your past, but how your started and where you came from is the very foundation that shaped your business today. Think about your history and the hard work that took to get where your business startup is today. Allow your employees to also understand the story behind your company and what it took to get it to its beginning stages.

Your past is a significant part of the strength of your business and most likely is what you drew your values from. Your employees need to understand the motivation and drive that propelled your business startup forward. Be upfront about your history and embrace it with a furry as it is the sole reason you are in the position you are today. When your employees see your roots, this will impact how they feel about the company and the vision that you have created to take it into the future.

Focus Daily On Your Culture

It is not enough to create your vision and values and be done with your corporate culture. It needs constant cultivation to prevent it from going to the wayside and becoming negative in a blink of an eye. You have an amazing opportunity as a business startup to start your corporate culture from the ground up as it is much easier to manage then change.

Make it a part of your routine to enforce the vision and lead by your company values. With you focus on maintaining a corporate culture that employees enjoy being a part of, you will reap the benefits from their improved productivity and performance.

When you focus on your corporate culture from the beginning stages of your business startup, you can easily create an environment that is positive for all that work there. You will see behaviors that are in line with your core values and strength in your corporate vision. The work starts now but will be well worth your efforts.

 

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com If you need to access our network of angel investors or a business plan for start-up funding visit Funded.com

Expansion Pitfalls All Small Businesses Must Avoid

A great number of small business owners have a constant urge to expand. Of course, the mere idea of expanding and becoming a “big” business known to fthousands and millions of people is fascinating. However, expansion is not all about finding a new office space and hiring new employees to fill the vacant seats.

There is much more to expansion than most small business owners realize. It is unfortunate that a larger population of these business owners is only focused on the benefits of expanding while completely omitting the challenges that entail business expansion. Let’s take a look at some of the most common challenges, concerns and considerations before you expand your small business.

Major Pitfalls to Avoid before Expanding a Small Business

 

  • Outdated Information of Market Conditions

Too often, the decision to expand taken by most small business owners is based on information that is many months old. The important thing to consider here is continuous market research. An idea that seemed like it will lead the market a few months ago might be an average offering today.

For example, you might have landed in the market with a unique product, and its sudden popularity might make you think you should expand as soon as possible. What you don’t realize is that the acceptance and popularity rate of your product can diminish with time. The big reason behind that is the competitors who can imitate anything that you have created.

It does not matter if you have patented the technology, method or the product itself before launching it. Your competitors will always find some way to imitate and emulate your products. A great example of this is Apple, the tech giant that patented the touchscreen technology. You can see there are more non-Apple touchscreen smartphones in the world today than Apple’s own iPhone.

  • Regional Limitations

When you are expanding your business into new territories, you must know them well. You cannot expect people to react to your offerings, marketing methods, advertising tactics in the same way everywhere. In fact, cultural considerations are an extremely important consideration when businesses are expanding.

You don’t have to be expanding to a completely new country to consider culture. There are many things that people in one state might love and people in another state completely hate.

These considerations have to be made based on the type of business you have. If your business has some cultural dependencies, you have to be very careful with where you are thinking of expanding your business operations.

  • Cash Flow Challenges

You need to be on top of your cash flow before you expand. Cash flow is important for any business, but it is essential when it comes time for expansion. It does not matter how much money you are expecting to come into the business after making the expansion move; it is going to require a lot of money upfront too.

This is the time when you have to stop thinking about the revenue and start focusing on your income. Your revenue does not tell you how feasible it is for you to expand your business. It is the money that you can use without affecting your current operations that matter in the expansion.

Look at your profits and see how big they are. If your profits are small, don’t just assume that things will be fine and you should just make a move. You don’t want to create a situation where not only you fail with expansion but affect your existing operations as well.

  • Technological Issues

The way modern businesses operate, technology goes wherever your business goes. Many small business owners think of expansion only regarding new office space, furniture, and new employees, but that’s not the case. Today’s businesses rely heavily on technologies, both hardware, and software. When your business expands, you have to support it with better hardware but what’s more important is the software side.

Unless you are using a cloud solution for your database and other internal tasks and activities, you will have to spend a lot of time in arranging the right system. Syncing information across multiple locations and managing bigger databases with more accounts and information can be a challenge in the beginning.

  • Overestimating Business Popularity

Some businesses that start with a unique idea and get attention from media fast are able to reap great benefits from sudden demand spikes. This situation often makes business owners feel that they should expand as soon as possible. What they don’t realize is that this is only the “trial” period for customers in their minds.

Even if they like your product, in the beginning, it does not mean they have put full trust in your offerings. A onetime purchase does not translate to loyal customers and repetitive purchases. You might have received a great response from customers when you started the business but wait for some time to know if your customers have started to repeat.

It is only the number of repeat customers that can tell you if your product/service has been a success. It could be a nightmare for you if you start getting negative reviews from your first customers as soon as you expand into new markets and locations. You could end up creating too much inventory that no one is willing to buy.

  • Underestimating Growth of Employees

While a lot of things get overestimated by new business owners before expansion, there are some things that they underestimate. Sometimes, business owners are not able to fully foresee their growth regarding employees.

They arrange new space to continue business operations in a new location without realizing that the growing number of employees will force them to expand their office space again. Not only is it inefficient but it could lead to a lot of hassle for the working employees if the expansion of office space takes place while they are working there.

Final Words

The most important thing to keep in mind when you have your own business, and you are considering expansion regarding business operations or product/service offerings, is patience. Always take your time before making a move because when you are a small business, you don’t have a lot of support to recover from huge financial losses like large enterprises do.

 

More detailed information and useful advice can be  found at Funded.com If you need to access our network of angel investors or a business plan for
start-up funding visit Funded.com